CHALLENGER WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT 2014
Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Young Guns Carreno And Kyrgios Triumph
by Josh Meiseles|
Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to who’s in action in the week to come.
A LOOK BACK
Citta' di Caltanissetta (Caltanissetta, Italy): Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta continued his dominance of ATP Challenger Tour title matches, rallying past Facundo Bagnis 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 for the Caltanissetta crown. Carreno improved to a perfect 7-0 in finals, claiming his fifth trophy in the last 12 months. The Spaniard, who was 34-8 on the circuit in 2013, was competing in his first Challenger tournament of the year. Bagnis, meanwhile, was seeking his fifth title in nine finals.
Aegon Nottingham Challenge (Nottingham, England): Nick Kyrgios put a bow on the two-week grass-court swing with a 7-6(3), 7-6(7) victory over fellow Australian Samuel Groth in the Nottingham final. At the age of 19, Kyrgios has already won four ATP Challenger Tour titles on three different surfaces. He also becomes the third qualifier to win on the circuit this year, joining Gilles Muller (Guadalajara) and Thiemo de Bakker (Santiago). The young gun was awarded a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw following his triumph.
Kyrgios pulls level with Simone Bolelli for second place on the 2014 Challenger titles leaderboard:
|Gilles Muller||4||Guadalajara, Shenzhen, Taipei, Gimcheon|
||3||Sarasota, Savannah, Nottingham2|
||3||Bergamo, Vercelli, Tunis
Prague Open (Prague, Czech Republic): Lukas Rosol (pictured right, photo credit: Prague Open / Pavel Lebeda), the top seed in Prague, prevailed in his home capital for the second time, turning aside countryman Jiri Vesely 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday. The World No. 50, who had previously won in 2011 (d. Bogomolov, Jr.), becomes the 8th Czech champion at the Prague Open in its 13-year history. He improves to 12-1 in Challenger events this year, having also triumphed on the hard courts of Irving. The victory snaps a nine-match win streak for Vesely, who was coming off a title run in Prostejov.
Internationaux de Tennis de Blois (Blois, France): Maximo Gonzalez had little trouble capturing his 13th ATP Challenger Tour crown, not dropping a set en route to the Blois title. The Argentine maintained a strong run of form as the week progressed, relinquishing a mere 11 games from the quarter-finals on. The top seed would defeat Gastao Elias 6-2, 6-3 in the final, in a rematch of the title bout in Santos, Brazil, two months ago. Gonzalez won that affair in straight sets as well.
Kosice Open (Kosice, Slovakia): Frank Dancevic joined Kyrgios as titleholders on hard, grass and clay courts with his eighth Challenger crown and first on clay. The 29-year-old Canadian held on for a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over seventh-seed Norbert Gombos in the final. Nearly 11 years removed from claiming his maiden title on home soil in Granby, Dancevic won seven matches in eight days as a qualifier in Kosice. He cooled off an in-form Gombos, who reached a third consecutive Challenger final.
Fergana Challenger (Fergana, Uzbekistan): Blaz Kavcic and Alexander Kudryavtsev, the lone players in the Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings in Fergana, met in the final on Sunday. Kavcic would prevail 6-4, 7-6(8) for his 10th crown in 15 Challenger finals. Kudryavtsev fell to 0-7 in title matches on the ATP Challenger Tour.
What the Players are Saying
Kyrgios (pictured left, photo credit: LTA): "As soon as I won that match an enormous amount of emotion rushed over me. It was a great match, Sam served unbelievable again. There were only a few chances, no breaks, and I was lucky to get out of that one with a couple of tie-breaks.
"It will be my first ever main draw at Wimbledon so I'm going to head out there to soak it up, have fun, get the crowd involved as much as I can. You never know, I could play one of the big dogs first round and I will just enjoy myself."
Groth: "I'm disappointed to lose the final, but my goal this week was to go through and not lose serve. I held 57 times in a row and didn't get broken for the week. Going into Wimbledon I take a lot of confidence from that. I lost a tight final, but got five matches on the grass and will be at a career-high [Emirates ATP Ranking] again on Monday, so I can look at it as a successful week."
Rosol: "For me this was an amazing week. I played in front of the Czech audience, on the courts of my home club. Thanks to all the people who came here. They were here the whole week and they were great. I have to congratulate Jiri for a very good last two weeks. He is improving so fast. I can not compare him to who he was last season. I am sure he will climb higher and higher.
"Now it´s time for grass. I hope I can show some good results at Wimbledon like in 2012 when I beat Nadal there."
Vesely (pictured left, photo credit: Prague Open / Pavel Lebeda): "I was quite nervous the whole week. First of all you play at home, second of all I was a big favourite in most of my matches. I wanted to win today, but Lukas was just better. He deserved to win. I love to play in front of the Czech people and they were great today. So many of them here. They can help me every time I am down. I hope to be here next year again."
Former champions Filippo Volandri (2013) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (2011) return to Milan for the ninth edition of the Aspria Tennis Cup Trofeo CDI. Fifth seed Maximo Gonzalez seeks his second title in as many weeks.
The ATP Challenger Tour descends on Mohammedia, Morocco for the first time. Carreno is the top seed, fresh off his title run in Caltanissetta.
The inaugural event in Tianjin, China welcomes last week's Fergana finalists Kavcic and Kudryavtsev as its top seeds. Third seed Di Wu leads the home charge.
Watch free live streaming from the ATP Challenger Tour this week...
Milan, Italy, Centre Court
Mohammedia, Morocco, Centre Court